Ghost bikes first started appearing in 2003 in Missouri, and then continued to show up in various locations around the nation. A ghost bike, a bicycle painted entirely white and accompanied by a plaque, is a memorial for a bicyclist who was killed in a bicycle accident. “They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel,” GhostBikes.org states.
Memorials that Hit Home
When you see a white bike chained on the side of the road or a curbside, it marks the loss of a cyclist, a person with hopes and dreams and loved ones that are hurting in the wake of the death. Creating, installing, or even merely acknowledging the monument causes you to give pause, pay silent respects to the victim, and realize the need for roadway safety improvements.
All cyclists face the same risks on the road on a daily basis; ghost bikes are a reminder not only of the lives lost but also the lives that can be saved. Seattle Bike Blog’s Tom Fucoloro commented: "It's like the recovery process, you have to recognize you have a problem and ghost bikes, very subtly, without any words, do that. There's been some heartbreaking ones where I show up, and a person's mother has left a note next to the bike. It's so hard to see. The devastation you feel, everyone should feel that."
Ghost Bikes around Seattle
The number of bicycles on Seattle roadways is increasing, and unfortunately, so are the number of cyclist deaths. As such, ghost bikes have been popping up in numerous locations throughout the city. Ghostbikes.org used to maintain a database and map of memorial around the nation. Those who installed a ghost bike could add information about the monument to the database, including the location, the victims’ names, and the date of the accident.
The organization no longer updates the site, but the concept of ghost bikes is still very much alive. Last August, Sher Kung, a young, well-respected attorney and new mother was killed by a truck while cycling on her commute to work.
Mourners went to the site of the crash to pay their respects, and two people brought ghost bikes. Nobody wants to have to erect a ghost bike, but doing so will hopefully send a clear message and raise awareness of bicyclists’ rights to safety.
Max Meyers Law cares about bicyclists and their rights. He generates useful content like tips on biking to work in conjunction with answering legal questions and negotiating with insurance companies after a crash. If you’ve been injured in a bike crash, please call Max Meyers Law for a free consultation: 425-399-7000.